TUPELO – The Department of Human Services and Tupelo residents will kick off Child Abuse Awareness Month with an afternoon of fun, food and education in Fairpark on April 3.
“We want to get the public to come out and bring awareness to child abuse in an community-oriented way, saying, ‘Hey, our community supports kids,’” said Shelia Nabors, community partnership coordinator with DHS. “And, the thing is, every time we’re in public like that, there is probably a victim there.”
The afternoon will offer games and food for children and families as well as informational booths to spread the word about child abuse and how common it is in every community.
“We’ll have information set up to hopefully recruit resource families for foster children and a way for parents to have knowledge about what abuse is,” Nabors said. “I’m hoping that in this setting – that’s not so strict and preachy – maybe there will be someone there who is having trouble understanding what inappropriate discipline is and can pick up some of this information discretely.”
The theme of the month is “Black, Blue and Beyond,” which Nabors said speaks to the darkness domestic violence, child abuse and drug abuse causes, but with knowledge families can strive for and reach their highest potential.
The April 3 kickoff, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., is free and open to anyone. The kickoff will be followed April 8 by the annual Stop the Hurt conference at St. James Catholic Church.
The conference, open to anyone but targeted to social workers, foster parents and anyone who works with women and children, will have speakers on topics of speaking about abuse, poverty, nutritional health and suicide awareness.
Registration for the April 8 conference is $40 in advance, $10 for students and $60 on the day of the conference.